Background: Idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating disorders (IIDD) affect the central nervous system. In classical multiple sclerosis (CMS), brain, optic nerves [optic neuritis (ON)] and spinal cord [acute transverse myelitis (ATM)] are affected. In neuromyelitis optica (NMO), optic nerves and spinal cord are predominantly affected. NMO-IgG, an autoantibody targeting aquaporin-4, is a marker for NMO. We studied the frequency and clinical relevance of NMO-IgG seropositivity in IIDD patients.
Methods: Neuromyelitis optica-IgG was detected by indirect immunofluorescence using primate cerebellum.
Results: Neuromyelitis optica-IgG was detected in six of 10 NMO patients (60%), six of 10 idiopathic relapsing transverse myelitis (IRTM) patients (60%), two of nine idiopathic relapsing ON patients (22%), one of 11 patients (9%) having single ON attack, one of 30 CMS patients (3%), and none of patients having single ATM attack or controls. Comparing NMO-IgG seropositive (n = 12) with NMO-IgG seronegative (n = 8) patients having NMO or IRTM, NMO-IgG seropositivity was associated with a higher relapse rate in first 2 years, 1.5 and 0.6 attacks/year for seropositive and seronegative groups respectively (P = 0.006), and non-significant trend towards more severe ON and myelitis with poorer clinical outcome.
Conclusion: Neuromyelitis optica -IgG facilitates diagnosis of NMO spectrum disorders. NMO-IgG seropositivity is associated with higher relapse rate in first 2 years.